Mysterious Chicago police angle deepens in deadly Yorba Linda plane crash

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As authorities try to figure out how a small plane fell from the sky and five people ended up dead in Southern California on Super Bowl Sunday, there is a deepening mystery involving the pilot and Chicago police.

Police in Yorba Linda, near Los Angeles, originally said that the pilot Tony Pastini was a retired Chicago police officer after finding a CPD badge and some paperwork in the cockpit of his crashed plane. On Tuesday they walked that back, saying those were fake items and he wasn't a Chicago cop.

The ABC7 I-Team first reported questions about the police angle Monday when CPD officials told us they had no record of Pastini.

In California Tuesday afternoon, his daughter spoke with sister station KABC, and was asked about the apparently fake Chicago police credentials. She declined the opportunity to explain.

"I'd prefer not to comment and let investigators do their job," Julia Ackley said. "My father is exactly who he said he was."

We do know Pastini was a restaurant owner, first at a Chicago-style Italian restaurant in Nevada and then a sushi restaurant in Carson City.

On social platforms and in media interviews Pastini said that he had been a Chicago cop for 21 years before retiring and moving west to open restaurant. He then worked as a food safety instructor, and his name is still listed on a Nevada state website.

But in Chicago the police pension database doesn't list him by Pastini or the birth name provided by his daughter, Jordan Isaacson. As the I-Team first reported Monday, Chicago police officials have no record of an officer by either name.

Federal authorities said he did have a legitimate pilots license.

"I've been in his planes since I was a baby," said Ackley. "We were just in his plane last month."

Pastini's plane seemed to explode and fall from the sky on Sunday, straight into a Yorba Linda home where a Super Bowl party was getting underway. Two men and two women inside the home were killed.

Chicago police told the I-Team that they are not investigating the case as a possible fraud because the potential suspect is already dead, and federal crash investigators don't believe the CPD angle had anything to do with what happened in Los Angeles.

The I-Team was also told by a Chicago police official that the numbered CPD badge found in Pastini's crashed plane had been reported lost in 1978. How it ended up in Pastini's hands, and his plane on Sunday, are not known. Occasionally CPD stars can be found for sale, even on eBay, along with badges and ID cards from other law enforcement agencies.
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